Plans for Facebook’s original content slate have surfaced: the social network has contracted to release a scripted TV series called Loosely Exactly Nicole, and a reality competition called Last State Standing.
It was against this backdrop that Apple this week announced it was bringing in heavy hitters to supercharge its own original content drive.
Loosely Exactly Nicole is a half-hour comedy that aired for one season before MTV cancelled it last October. It features 30-year-old comedian Nicole Byer and is based on her life. It was developed by Mina Lefevre, EVP at MTV, before she left in February to become head of development at Facebook.
Last State Standing is a new series from A. Smith and Co, the producer of the obstacle course competition series American Ninja Warrior and Kitchen Nightmares. It will feature one contestant from each of the 50 United States, who will compete in “unique and crazy games”, according to the Hollywood Reporter the Hollywood Reporter.
The outlet also reported that in addition to traditional TV fare like these it will also work to develop short-form digital series in partnership with BuzzFeed, Vox, ATTN and Group Nine Media. The efforts are supposed to go live later in the summer.
Apple meanwhile has hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who are joining Apple in newly created positions overseeing all aspects of video programming. They come to Apple from Sony Pictures Television, where they have served as presidents since 2005, and have been responsible for a range of programming, including favourites such as Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, The Crown, Rescue Me and others.
"Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television," said Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "We have exciting plans in store for customers and can't wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple — there is much more to come."
Original content can keep Apple competitive with the successes of Amazon and Netflix exclusives and draw buyers to Apple TV, which will be increasingly important as competition increases with the entry of Facebook and others into the mix. Apple has slowly rolled out some original programmes, including a recently released Shark Tank-inspired app developer competition show called Planet of the Apps, which received mixed reviews. A streaming version of James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke was also announced.
"It will be an honour to be part of the Apple team," said Erlicht. "We want to bring to video what Apple has been so successful with in its other services and consumer products — unparalleled quality."